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Don't think twice about buying these top-rated double ovens

Consumer Reports News: January 17, 2013 03:38 PM

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With manufacturers touting double-oven ranges for their flexibility, Consumer Reports has been testing more electric smoothtop and gas ranges with two ovens. Of the 21 models in our labs, five performed so well that we recommend them. But to avoid second-guessing your purchase, first find out whether a double oven would be more convenient, or less, given the way you cook.

Ranges with double ovens come in several configurations—a smaller top oven paired with a larger one below, the opposite combo, or two ovens the same size, such as the Frigidaire Symmetry Double Oven ranges. (The Frigidaires are in our test labs now and we'll report on them soon.) Depending on how many you cook for, using a double oven might mean you employ the smaller one for most cooking and the larger one for holiday feasts. These ranges also let you bake a pie in one oven while cooking a roast in the other. If you're considering a double oven, think about your favorite foods and how often you cook and bake, then consider these shopping tips from Tara Casaregola, the engineer who runs Consumer Reports' tests of ranges and other cooking appliances.

Check the controls. Look for controls that make it very clear which oven you're preheating and on which oven you're increasing the temperature. Burnt pot roast? Undercooked brownies? When cooking, a comedy of errors is never that funny.

Size up capacity. The recommended double-oven ranges are 30-inches wide, just like standard ranges. So take a long look at the inside of both the ovens and be sure to note the oven capacity scores in our Ratings. We add the usable space of both ovens to determine total capacity. Among the recommended double-oven ranges the total capacity of most is excellent, but that's also true of most standard ranges we recommend. And with double-oven ranges you're giving up the storage drawer.

Count the features. Are the features in one or both ovens? Take convection, for example. It uses one or more fans to speed up cooking time. In some of the double-oven ranges we've tested convection is only in one oven, typically the larger one.

Bend then stretch. No matter how your range is configured, that lower oven is low, and if you're using the lowest rack, then it's really low. When shopping, borrow a roaster from the housewares aisle and place it in the lower oven, imagine it holds a 20-pound turkey, then pull out the rack and lift the roaster from the oven. How's your back? With double-oven ranges that's something to consider.

Recommended ranges. Our tests of electric smoothtop ranges found these double-oven standouts: the GE PS978STSS, $2,500, Maytag MET8885X[S], $1,300, and the LG LDE3015ST, $1,300. All offer excellent performance overall. Among gas ranges, the KitchenAid KDRS505XSS, $2,000, is recommended. This double-oven range pairs a gas cooktop with an electric oven. And the LG LDG3016ST, $1,800, gas range also has two ovens and is also a top pick. Both gas models were very good overall. For full test results, see our Ratings of electric and gas ranges and click on "Features & Specs" for product details.

If you're not convinced that a double-oven range is for you, see our Ratings of dozens of ranges, including 30-inch and 36-inch pro-style models.

Kimberly Janeway

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